New Zealand textile regulations stipulate that the country of origin must be clearly identifiable on every garment. As consumers, we are used to seeing this information, but what is often left unsaid is the groups of skilled individuals responsible with each stage in the process of making a garment in that country.
Below are descriptions of the roles individuals play to enable the design and manufacturing of Wilderling garments:
The Designer: the person who has the inspiration or vision for a collection of clothing and what each individual piece will look like, what design details it will have and how it will be worn. The designer will also source fabrics and trims in order to bring the idea to life.
The Pattern Maker: the person who creates the pattern used to cut out the design from the fabric.
The Sampler: the person who makes up a first sample of the pattern. This is to test the pattern or idea to see if will work in reality.
To note: often the sampler and pattern maker are the same individual as this process can happen at the same time.
The Pattern Grader: the person who will takes the approved ‘base’ pattern and grades it up and/or down depending on the size guide identified for that particular brand. For instance the pattern may be in a children’s base size 1-2Y, it will therefore be graded up five sizes to a size 7-8Y. The grader also digitises the pattern, reducing paper and card waste.
The Cutter: the person who uses the digitised patterns, organises the various pattern pieces and creates markers to cut the fabrics from. Markers are a ‘plan’ for how the garment will be cut out on the fabric. The cutter will also have intimate knowledge on the performance of fabrics, for instance how they respond to cutting, and if they need to be relaxed prior to cutting to ensure they do not shrink. For instance merino fabric needs to be rolled out and left to relax for 12-24hrs prior to cutting. The cutter then cuts the pattern out of the fabric either by hand or using a laser cutter depending, on how the operation is set up.
The Maker: this is the person who makes the garment using various sewing machine and trim application techniques. An example of a trim is a dome, these are the closure mechanisms we use for our bibs, rompers and bodysuits. They require special machines to attach them to the garment correctly. The maker will also attach all clothing labels and press the finished garments.
A note about Wilderling’s garment makers: all makers work in complete piece work i.e. one individual is responsible for making a whole garment. This is different to large scale factories that work on more of a mass production/piece work system, where by one individual may only make one ‘piece’ of the garment i.e. sitting at one machine and making all the collars on all the shirts.
The Packer: the person who receives the finished garments, sorts orders, attaches swing tags, folds and packages the garment for the customer.
Why is the above important to know? I think it is important for consumers to understand the processes involved in the creation of a single piece of clothing. Why? Because once you see the steps involved you can then start to get an idea of the different levels of skilled individuals required to get an idea made into a piece of clothing that can then be purchased and worn.
At Wilderling we are committed to being open and transparent about our supply and production chains. Being made locally in New Zealand means we know every person involved - we meet them, we talk to them, and we are inspired by them and their skills and knowledge. We are also a small manufacturer and our founder, Victoria, plays a pivotal role in almost all aspects of the design and manufacturing process. You will see her name pop up on every piece of clothing sold online.
For every product page online, we highlight the important individuals who are responsible for its creation. This looks different for every garment/accessory and depends on the skills needed to bring that product to life. You can find this information under the ‘Country of Origin’ tab for each product - see screenshot above.
To find out more about the Wilderling brand have a read here.
Or have a browse at our latest Collection.